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West Point Big Game
Photos courtesy West Point Paintball Program
The nation's oldest college paintball team is gearing up to host their annual Fall Big Game on September 15-16th at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
West Point has been a military installation since January 20, 1778, the oldest continuously occupied facility in the United States. The Academy was established on March 16, 1802 and has been giving young men, and since the 1980's, young women, a four year education culminating in a Bachelor of Science degree and a commission of 1st Lieutenant in the United States' Army.
Well known for it's football team, West Point has been participating in collegiate events since 1890. Douglas MacArthur, a noted graduate of West Point, said during his time spent at the Academy that every cadet should have to participate in a sport. His famous quote of “Every cadet an athlete” has allowed for alternative sports to take hold at the academy.
In 1984, the cadet paintball team was founded at West Point and while going through rocky periods, has continued to succeed. Their annual Big Games, both in the spring and the fall, are the cadets primary source of team funding. Since 2000, the Fall Big Game has brought a little over 400 players to compete on the grounds of West Point each September. The event is held on the training grounds that the cadets use for maneuvers. The game is completely cadet run, using military planning and group leadership skills learned during their time at the Academy. The West Point paintball team is overseen by Captain Blanning and SFC DuBois. Sergeant DuBois is also a long time paintball player, having been on and off of fields, when not deployed overseas, since 1988.
Not content to sit at home, these cadets also play around the country. The team has two squads, one focused on tournament paintball, and the other oriented towards scenario and big games. The tournament players try out for the team each season, then compete in the NCPA and at the college divisions of PSP and NPPL tournaments. The milsim side of the team makes up about half of the entire group, playing EMR's Castle Conquest and other events around the state.
Known for their demonstrations of Blackhawk helicopters and Army munitions, like machine guns shooting blanks, the West Point Big Game is always a big draw for the locals of the New York area and surrounding states. The cadets have been preparing for a big Fall 07 game, having not only their fields readied, the vendors lined up, but also a full air compressor set up to fill air all weekend. Camping is available, right on the West Point installation, on a first come, first served basis. Food vendors will also be on-site.
This year's Fall Big Game will be based on a theoretical Soviet Invasion of NATO. Pre-registration has begun and will continue until the 4th of September for a cost of $55. Check in and walk-on registration will begin early at 0600 hours on the morning of the 15th with a walk-on price of $60. Players will receive with their registration, two full days of play, unlimited air and CO2, a West Point Big Game patch and a team armband. The event is field paint only, they'll be selling PMI Premium and Combat on-site.
The Cadet Honor Code states that “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do.” Clean play is expected at the event, along with some surprises for the players.
Check out the website link above for more information, waivers, rules and game strategy for the event in September.
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